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Parliament wants to ensure the right to disconnect from work

Parliament wants to protect employees’ fundamental right to disconnect from work and not to be reachable outside working hours.

Digital tools have increased efficiency and flexibility for employers and employees, but also created a constantly on-call culture, with employees being easily reachable anytime and anywhere, including outside working hours. Technology has made teleworking possible, while the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns have made it widespread.

Teleworking blurs the distinction between private and professional

Although teleworking has saved jobs and enabled many businesses to survive the corona crisis, it has also blurred the distinction between work and private lifel. Many people are having to work outside their regular working hours, worsening their work-life balance.

People who regularly telework are more than twice as likely to work more than the maximum working hours set down in the EU's  working time directive than those who don’t.

Maximum working and minimum rest times:

  • Maximum 48 working hours per week
  • Minimum 11 consecutive hours of daily rest
  • At least four weeks paid annual leave per year

Find out what the EU is doing to protect jobs affected by the pandemic

Find out more about EU rules on work-life balance

Constant connectivity  can lead to health issues

Rest is essential for people's wellbeing and constant connectivity to work has consequences on health. Sitting too long in front of the screen and working too much reduces concentration, causes cognitive and emotional overload and can lead to headaches, eye strain, fatigue, sleep deprivation, anxiety or burnout. In addition, a static posture and repetitive movements can cause muscle strain and musculoskeletal disorders, especially in working environments that don’t meet ergonomic standards.

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